Writing a Letters to Your Legislative Representative

Writing a letter to your MP, MPP, MLA or MNA expressing your interest in ADHD, your concerns, and your request that they become educated and involved in a provincial or national dialogue on the topic is hugely helpful in our advocacy efforts. When meeting with government representatives we are frequently told that they do not hear from their constituents on this topic and are therefore not overly interested in becoming involved. Governments estimate that every letter they receive on a topic represents an additional 50 to 60 people also concerned about the topic that have not bothered to write a letter, so please know that your one letter is of great value. CADDAC needs families and individuals with an interest in ADHD to speak up in order to be heard. We cannot do it without your help!

To write a letter to your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), or your Member of the National Assembly (MNA), feel free to use one of the templates below to get you started. Please remember that these are only templates. The more information that you can include about your own situation and feelings the more impact your letter will have. The important overriding message is that ADHD is a significant disorder that greatly impacts individuals and their families. An additional important message is that ADHD also increases costs to our Canadian society and economy. Access “Paying Attention to the Cost of ADHD, the price paid by Canadian Families, Governments and Society” for more information on this topic.

Template Letters

Write a letter to:

MP, MPP, MLA, or MNA Re: The Recognition of ADHD as a Significant Disorder That Needs to be Taken Seriously by Government.

Date

Lisa Surname,
MPP, Downtown Toronto Room 402,
Queen’s Park Toronto, ON  1A1 A1A

I am a constituent of yours and I am writing (optional: to request a meeting) to discuss an issue of great concern to my family. Our family struggles on a daily basis to access treatments and resources for a disorder that impacts the lives of not only my son and husband, who have the disorder, but the entire family. The impairments that this disorder causes impact almost all facets of their lives. This includes not only work and school, but basic things like remembering schedules, juggling more than one task at a time, communicating with friends and family, and completing the tasks at hand. The disorder that has created such havoc in our lives is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. You may think that ADHD is an insignificant disorder of hyperactive boys, but nothing can be farther from the truth. ADHD has impacted our employment, our finances, our health both physical and mental, and our entire family’s well-being. Although ADHD is one of the most common mental health conditions it continues to be misunderstood and treated as “not a big deal”. Even worse those with the disorder are treated as malingerers, or trouble makers, rather than someone with a legitimate medical condition. The majority of recommended treatments, other than medication, are difficult to access and unaffordable since they are not covered under provincial health care plans. I was very interested in seeing a recently published white paper on the socioeconomic costs of ADHD, that I would strongly encourage you to access. It details the long term costs of not treating ADHD adequately and covers some of the very things that are occurring and that we fear may happen to our son in the future, if he does not receive the care he needs now.

I will be following up with a telephone call to your office (optional: to request a meeting). In the meantime, if you would like further information or to speak to with me, please feel free to call me at 416-555-5555.

Sincerely,

~ Your Signature ~
~~~

Additional points that can be used in this letter.

The impairing effects of ADHD – often experienced lifelong – increase costs to healthcare, education, labour, social services and the justice system. They impede the attainment of human and social capital, resulting in increased socioeconomic costs for Canada. These costs are further fuelled by the continued under-diagnosis and under-treatment of ADHD. A shocking 90% of adults remain untreated, despite the far-reaching impact of ADHD on the individual and their family.

Why You Should our Elected Officials Pay Attention to ADHD:

  • ADHD’s “cost of illness” across all ages (using conservative incidence rates) are estimated to be over CAD$7 billion. This is higher than the costs associated with clinical depression.

  • ADHD leads to higher rates of associated disabling mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, as well as increased rates of substance abuse. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are up to three times more likely than other children to use, abuse, or become dependent on substances such as nicotine, cocaine and marijuana. ADHD is linked to alcohol abuse in later life.

  • ADHD increases the use of health services by family members, as well as for the individual with ADHD.

  • People with ADHD are more likely to enter the workforce at the unskilled or semi-skilled level.

  • They have greater periods of unemployment; are more likely to be dismissed; change jobs more frequently; and earn considerable less money over their lifetime.

  • They have a higher than average dependency on social welfare, and subsequently contribute less taxes.

  • ADHD symptoms can lead to employees exhibiting poorer job performance and being absent more often than peers without ADHD, and result in lower occupational status and less job satisfaction.

  • Students with ADHD are at greater risk for lower levels of academic achievement; higher rates of disciplinary referrals; grade repetition; placement in special education; and spending more years in special education.

  • Students with ADHD are 2.7 times more likely than those without ADHD to drop out of school before graduation.

  • The economic and social costs associated with the increased high-school dropout rates are staggering, and estimated at approximately US$399,000 across a lifetime.

  • Incidence rates of ADHD are far greater in the offender population than in the general public.

MPP/MLA/MNA – Re: Education

A sample letter to your MP, MPP, MNA or MLA in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia:

Date

Lisa Surname,
MPP, Downtown Toronto Room 402,
Queen’s Park Toronto, ON 1A1 A1A

Dear Ms. Surname,

I am a constituent of yours and I am writing (optional: to request a meeting) to discuss an issue of great concern to my family. My son Chris, a grade three student at local junior public school, has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Like all parents, I want Chris to succeed to the best of his ability at school but his ADHD interferes with his academic performance. ADHD is a neurobiological disorder, an illness of the nervous system and the most common mental health disorder diagnosed in children. It is estimated that there are at least one to two children in every classroom with ADHD, including my son.

(BC and Quebec)

Our school and school board insist that a diagnosis of ADHD and the impairment it causes does not qualify my son to receive the special education assistance that he requires to reach his academic potential. This means that our son cannot receive accommodations or the extra assistance he requires at school. He is barred from the right to access accommodations for his disability.

(Ontario)

Although the Ministry Of Education has developed a Memorandum on the subject of Categories of Exceptionality, http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/elemsec/speced/2011CategoryException.pdf, our school and board continue to insist that a diagnosis of ADHD and the impairment it causes does not qualify Chris to receive accommodations or the extra assistance he requires at school. He is barred from the right to access accommodations for his disability. The school is demanding we have a psychoeducational assessment done on Chris, which would cost us thousands of dollars which we cannot afford, to prove that his ADHD impacts his learning, when it is clearly evident each and every day.

(Or, the school is not willing to accept our private psychoeducational report which clearly states that Chris’s ADHD impacts his learning)

Your support on this issue is very important to me and other parents of school-aged children with ADHD. I have included additional background material for your review.

I will be following up with a telephone call to your office (optional: to request a meeting). In the meantime, if you would like further information or to speak to with me, please feel free to call me at 416-555-5555.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

~ Your Signature ~
~~~

A sample letter to your MP, MPP, MNA or MLA other than Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia:

Date

Lisa Surname,
MPP, Downtown Toronto Room 402,
Queen’s Park Toronto, ON  1A1 A1A

Dear Ms. Surname,

I am a constituent of yours and I am writing (optional: to request a meeting) to discuss an issue of great concern to my family. My son Chris, a grade three student at local junior public school, has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Like all parents, I want Chris to succeed to the best of his ability at school but his ADHD interferes with his academic performance. ADHD is a neurobiological disorder, an illness of the nervous system and the most common mental health disorder diagnosed in children. It is estimated that there are at least one to two children in every classroom with ADHD, including my son.

Although the school continually complains that Chris is not completing his work, and is falling behind in his studies, they refuse to actually implement the individual education plan that we fought so hard to have developed. My son’s teachers treat him as a “problem child” rather than a child who has a legitimate medical problem. We are very frustrated with the teacher’s lack of knowledge on ADHD, that would inform them on how to work with Chris. Those teachers who do understand the condition frequently complain that the system does not allow them to give Chris the support be requires.
Your support on this issue is very important to me and other parents of school-aged children with ADHD. I have included additional background material for your review.

I will be following up with a telephone call to your office (optional: to request a meeting). In the meantime, if you would like further information or to speak to with me, please feel free to call me at 416-555-5555.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

~ Your Signature ~
~~~

MPP/MLA/MNA – Re: Medication (accessibility of long acting ADHD medication varies by province)

To access information on what is included on your provinces formularies please visit http://www.caddac.ca/cms/CADDAC_pdf/ProvincialMedicationcoverage1.pdf

A sample letter to your MP, MPP:

Date

Lisa Surname,
MPP,
Downtown Toronto Room 402, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON 1A1 A1A

Dear Ms. Surname,

I am a constituent of yours and I am writing (optional: to request a meeting) to discuss an issue of great concern to my family. My son Chris, a grade three student at local junior public school, has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Like all parents, I want Chris to succeed to the best of his ability at school but his ADHD interferes with his academic performance.

ADHD is a neurobiological disorder, an illness of the nervous system and the most common mental health disorder diagnosed in children. It is estimated that there are at least one to two children in every classroom with ADHD, including my son.

Due to our low income and no private insurance, Chris has public health insurance access to only multiple-dose, or short-acting ADHD medications which can help but are a great struggle to administer two to three times each day.

As it is today, Chris must leave class and receive his medication at the Principal’s office, which causes great frustration due to the stigma. No child wants to be singled out in class, especially for the medication he needs to be successful.
Having access to long-acting medications will also allow Chris to have a more even day without his treatment wearing off, preventing in class disturbances or significant gaps in his attention when he cannot learn.
Unfortunately, unless the Ministry of Health (or substitute with appropriate Ministry’s name in your province) allows access to public health care medication that includes long-acting ADHD medications, students like Chris will not reach their full potential and miss valuable education needed throughout their lives.

We are requesting your assistance in facilitating the changes required to allow students like Chris to reach their full potential and become valued, contributing members of our society.

Your support on this initiative is very important to me and other parents of school-aged children with ADHD. I have included additional background material for your review.

I will be following up with a telephone call to your office (optional: to request a meeting). In the meantime, if you would like further information or to speak to me with please feel free to call me at 416-555-5555.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

~your signature~
~~~